A professional blogger and website content creator, I know all to well the perils of the dreaded “writer’s block.” Believe it or not, it can be hard to come up with good ideas to write about consistently! It can be even harder to have them make sense in conjunction to one another. Good SEO tactics for websites require consistent content creation, but the key is to make sure everything works together in a clear and concise manner. That’s why my content calendar is my most useful tool. It keeps writer’s block at bay by making sure I always have an arsenal of ideas and concepts, and helps me get a “big picture” view of the overall story arc of my blogs. Each piece of content is not an island unto itself. The best content builds on and links to content that you’ve already created, to add context. Your content marketing plan will make it easier to identify opportunities to integrate, revisit, and add to existing content.
Creating a Blog Calendar
Building an audience means keeping a steady schedule, and you don’t want to wait until the last minute to come up with content ideas. Whether you publish once a week or once a month, consistency keeps your audience coming back for more.
At the beginning of each year I sit down and plan out my blog topics as far ahead in advance as I can. To do so I take the following into consideration:
- How do the seasons affect the businesses I work with? Do their services or products offered change with the calendar? If so I make sure to plan a couple of topics that cover what clients need to know at certain times of year.
- I will also plan ahead to keep readers informed about promotions and sales.
- The performance of previous blogs can also help with planning. The ones that earned additional clicks or likes can reveal a lot! I’ll maybe do a continuation of some (such as a “Part 2”), or even “rerun” those that remain timely.
- Holiday blogs work well too! Special occasions provide a lot of good writing fodder.
- Finally, I always schedule some time with the sales and marketing folks on the front lines to take feedback, ideas, and suggestions from as many sources within each business as possible.
Creating relevant content requires an understanding of your audience, and your content marketing plan is an extension of that understanding. By publishing the right content at the right time, you can make the maximum impression on your audience.
Ideally, your content marketing plan will cover as many areas of your business as possible. Planning ahead also allows you to maintain some flexibility in your content development. If a big news story or unexpectedly pleasant stretch of weather creates added interest in your business, you can respond with content that’s tailored to the mood of the moment, without going off schedule.
Schedule Your Social Media into Your Agenda, Too
Everyone knows that blogs are perfect to post on social media. So by creating a content calendar for your blogs you are also creating a social media plan at the same time. Since it can be just as difficult to be creative and captivating on social as it is for your blogs, a social media schedule takes a lot of the pressure off, too.
Use your social calendar to plan updates and articles, but don’t forget to schedule time for “maintenance” activities like responding to interactions. Conversation remains key on social!
- Plan in Bulk – When you’re ready to work on your social media calendar, block out considerable time for the task. Doing so will save you time in the long run, and it will help you develop a schedule with cohesion and clear direction.
- Keep It Fresh – Remember that marketing on social is different from traditional advertising. People want to see more than promotional posts, even if your promotions are really great. Mix things up by offering multimedia content, sharing and commenting on interesting articles from other sources, and engaging customers through direct interaction.
- Choose Targets and Set Goals – Every social channel offers something different in terms of function and demographics. Do some research and experimentation to determine which channels are best suited to your niche. Once you’ve identified your choices set minimum and maximum activity goals for each channel, with more time devoted to the channels that offer the most value to your business.
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